The parshiyos of ויקהל פקודי deal with the building of the Mishkan. In parshas Terumah the Torah relates that the purpose of building the Mishkan and Mikdash is essentially to build a Mishkan in one’s heart ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם , I will dwell in them, in the good hearts of Klal Yisrael. As the poem of the Chareidim portrays בתוך לבי משכן אבנה לזיו כבודו . How does a Yid accomplish this task of creating a לב טוב ?
First let us take a look at the building of the Mishkan itself. The Baal Haturim in parshas Pekudei which is based on Vayikrah Rabba 1,8. The Torah writes after every part of the construction of the Mishkan with its vessels, the phrase כאשר צוה ה’ את משה or the like. The Medrash says that these 18 phrases correspond to the 18 berachos of Shemoneh Esray instituted by our Chachamim. The total amount of words in the ending of all the 18 berachos of the Shemoneh Esrai such as ברוך אתה ה’ מגן אברהם, ברוך אתה ה’ מחיה המתים is 113. Amazingly this corresponds to the 113 times that the Torah mentions a form of the word לב . This is to be understood by the fact that Tefillah is derived from the passuk ולעבדו בכל לבבכם that one must serve Hashem with all his heart which our Chazal interpret to mean the mitzvah of Tefillah. It is therefore that we find that the 113 times the Torah mentions the word לב corresponds to the 113 number of words forming the end berachos of the Tefillah since Shemoneh Esrai requires the service of the heart.
Now since the essential Mishkan is to prepare one’s heart as a dwelling for Hashem’s presence, tefillah which is the avodah of deveikus in the heart can help accomplish this goal.
A second avenue to bring to the successful building of a Mishkan in one’s heart is תיקון המדות and character refinement. In the Mishnah (Pirkei Avos 2,13) Rabbe Yochanan Ben Zakai had five talmidim. He asked from them to go out and bring back proof defining what is the derech tov of life to which one should cleave to. Rabbe Eliezer said a good eye, Rabbe Yehoshuah said a good friend, Rabbe Yosi said a good neighbor, Rabbe Shimon said one who thinks of the future repercussions of his speech and actions, and Rabbe Elazar said a good heart. Their rebbi upon hearing their opinions concluded that Rabbe Elazar’s opinion of a good heart includes all the other derachim.
To elaborate on Rabbe Yochanan’s words let us bring the Bnei Yissaschor who writes that from the Torah itself, where the Torah mentions for the first time the word טוב , was the source from where Rabbe Eliazar derived his proof that לב טוב is the virtue that is all encompassing. For if one counts לב – 32 words from the beginning of the Torah from the first word of בראשית , he will arrive at the word כי which precedes the word טוב . In other words the derech tov which is all encompassing including all the words of the Torah until you get to טוב , is לב . Hence לב טוב is the derech tov to pursue above all.
This all encompassing Lev Tov can be seen from the words of the Rokeach in his commentary on Hagadah on Kiddush. ויכלו השמים והארץ וכל צבאם . The acronym of the this passuk adds up to the gematriah of 113 which corresponds to the 113 times it mentions in the Torah the word לב . There is no greater shelaimus than a לב טוב . For if one possesses a לב טוב he has
ויכלו he has everything, the shamayim, the aretz and all the heavenly legions.
What makes a לב טוב ? Tikkun Hamidos. The Sefiras Haomer which the number of days counted is 49 is the same gematriah of לב טוב . As our Kabbalists write that Sefiras Haomer is the time of perfecting one’s middos. The seat of the middos is in the heart. The word מדה is gematriah 49. The gematriah of המדות equals לב טהור ברא . The way to come to a Lev Tov is through the refinement of one’s character.
A third way to construct a Mishkan in one’s heart is by toiling in learning Torah. As the Ohr Chayim Hakadosh writes on the passuk (Shmos 6,9) that Bnei Yisrael were not capable of listening to Moshe because they were קוצר רוח short spirited. Writes the Ohr Chayim that this state was present because as of yet they did not possess the Torah which is capable of transforming them into בני תורה which would expand their hearts making it good. This can be seen from the hint that the beginning of the Torah and until the end is surrounded by the word לב . This word is normally formed by writing the letters lamed and bais next to each other. In the Torah the word לב is expanded by the Torah in between the beis which is the first letter of the Torah and the last letter which is a lamed. פתח לבי בתוורתיך open my heart with Your Torah. The Torah can expand one’s לב and make it good.
A fourth way to create a Mishkan in one’s heart is through the daily renewal of קבלת עול מלכות שמים by reciting the Shmah Yisrael and accepting the yoke of Shamayim and Mitzvos upon oneself with true sincerity. If one spells out the word לב with its inner letters למיד בית he will arrive at its gematria 496 the same as מלכות . This is hinted in the gematriah of the 49 letters in the makeup of the passuk שמע ישראל and ברוך שם equaling the gematriah of לב טוב which comes about through accepting the malchus of Hashem upon himself.
Returning to the Rokeach and the acronym at the beginning of Kiddush we discover yet a fifth way to build a Mishkan in the human heart and that is through Shabbos. As Chazal interpret לעשות את השבת לדורותם to mean לדירתם , a place to reside in. How does Shabbos help in actualizing our mission of building a sanctuary for Hashem?
The answer is by giving each Yid a נשמה יתירה . What is the nature of our neshamah yesairah? Rashi (Beitza 16) explains that it is a broadening of the לב for menucha and simcha and to be open wide enabling one to eat and drink without being disgusted. This interpretation of Rashi is very perplexing that the extra soul is described in characteristics of the physical body and pleasures? Secondly, Rashi (Taanis 27b) explains neshamah yesairah as the power to broaden his דעת and to eat and drink more excessively than during the weekdays. According to Rashi which then facilitates the excess oneg of eating and drinking? Is it the broadening of the one’s בל or his דעת ?
To answer these questions we turn to the sefer Beis Genazei where the author elaborates on the words of the Rosh in his sefer Hahanahgos concerning the nature of the Shabbos neshamah yesairah. According to the Zohar and Ari Hakodesh there are three levels of nehsamah. The lowest neshamah is called nefesh and is situated in the liver. The next level of neshamah is called ruach and is found in the heart. The highest level is called neshamah and resides in the head. During the week the ruach follows the cue of the nefesh that is in the liver. However, when Shabbos comes then the ruach follows the will of the neshamah. There is nothing more physical and earthly to man than the craving to eat as the passuk says צדיק אוכל לשובע נפשו ובטן רשעים תחסר . The tzadik eats only what is necessary for survival while the rasha always craves for more food in excess. Therefore on Shabbos, when there is a mitzvah to eat and drink, with this comes a fear of becoming physicalized by eating more than necessary. It is for this reason that Hashem gave us a neshamah yesairah which elevates the ruach and the heart to attain the higher level of neshamah in contrast to the week when the ruach and heart obey the calling of the nefesh habehamis (animal).
This is what Rashi means that neshamah yesairah widens the heart (ruach) to desire excessive food to fulfill the mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos. For when the heart is elevated to the level of neshamah, one’s eating becomes more spiritually directed as well. Therefore we can understand the neshamah yesairah as being the ruach now reaching the level of neshamah. This is hinted in the gematriah of רוח בנשמה which equals תורה This interpretation aligns itself with the Ohr Chaim’s interpretation of קוצר רוח, that through Torah, the ruach and the heart become broadened and become a greater receptacle to receive the influence of the neshamah.
This is why there is a mitzvah to light a נר in the room one eats for oneg Shabbos. During the week the ruach and lev are connected mainly to the nefesh behamis which makes the act of eating dark and physical. However, on Shabbos the ruach is elevated to neshamah and the oneg one receives is an experience of light and spirit. The acronym of רנ is נשמה רוח which gives one the permission and control to eat and drink over his personal level of excess.
Now we can interpret the seeming contradiction in Rashi whether the neshamah yeshairah widens the heart or the דעת ? The answer is both are correct. Since the neshamah elevates the ruach with its new heightened דעת it then widens the heart to have a greater desire and capacity for physical consumption since one is no longer in danger of becoming distant from Hashem which normally follows indulgence.
A deeper understanding of the above is based on the Shaar Hakavanos in which the neshamah yesairah is explained thus. When Moshe Rabbeinu ascended Har Sinai to receive the Torah, Hashem gave to him one thousand parts of heavenly light. However, because of the sin of the Aigel these lights were removed from him and he remained with only 1/1000th hinted in the small aleph at the end of the word ויקרא . Since Moshe did not sin but lost these lights because of Yisrael’s iniquities, Hashem took the lights from the removed crowns of נעשה ונשמע which Yisrael received at Matan Torah and gave them over to Moshe. On every Erev Shabbos Moshe takes back those lights that were taken from him and then he returns the crowns back to Yisrael that were taken from them and given to him. Therefore, on every Erev Shabbos Yisrael receives a neshamah yesairah from those crowns and lights that Moshe received from them after the sin of the Aigel. It is therefore fitting to sing מזמור שיר ליום השבת since during the period of Shabbos we receive back those crowns given to Moshe. This could be the reason why we find the acronym of למשה in the first passuk of מזמור שיר ליום השבת because our song for Shabbos which comes from the returned crowns of נעשה ונשמע come from Moshe Rabbeinu.
Now we can understand why the neshamah yesairah which translates into רוח בנשמה , an experience where the heart of the Yid is elevated to neshamah is gematriah הרות which possesses 613 mitzvos equaling the gematriah משה רבנו .
Both the tzadik and the rasha have hearts but of differing natures. As Chazal in Bereishis Rabba 67,8 state that the heart of the tzadik is good because he controls it. This is in contrast to the rasha whose heart is bad for it controls him.
ויאמר עשו בלבו הרשעים ברשות לבן(תהלים יד) אמר נבל בלבו ויאמר עשו בלבו (מלכים א יב) ויאמר ירבעם בלבו (אסתר ו) ויאמר המן בלבו אבל הצדיקים לבן ברשותן (שמואל א כז) וחנה היא מדברת על לבה ויאמר דוד אל לבו (דניאל א) וישם דניאל אל לבו דומין לבוראן (בראשית יח) ויאמר ה’ אל לבו .
We could hint with the above that the Malach of Esav who battled with Yaakov, fought with the intent to destroy the לב טוב of Yaakov Avinu. This is alluded to in the word מעבור יבק the name of the battlefield. It directs us to pass over )מעבור( the word יבק which is gematriah 112 in order to arrive at 113. ויאבק – the malach of Esav wrestled with him. The root word of יאבק is also gematriah 113. Both hints direct us to the 113 times lev is mentioned in the Torah. The intent of the battle was for the bad heart to destroy the לב טוב and eradicate Yaakov’s ability to build a Mishkan to Hashem. Our job is to make sure that the Mishkan is built with the very fabric of our lives.
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